The Wave provides interventions  and treatment for Psychosis and Serious Mental Illness

Eating Disorders

An eating disorder is an extremely serious and life-threatening illness. Eating disorders are deceptive and can subtly creep upon us, and before a parent or child knows, have become a grave situation—one that is unmanageable with sole treatment at home.

Most eating disorders will develop during adolescence, although they can affect people of any age they are particularly prevalent between the ages of 12 and 20, brought on by stressors, such as school pressures, personal and family relationships, and other factors that can influence destructive eating habits. 

To put into perspective the sheer enormity of the problem, eating disorders are responsible for more deaths than any other mental health condition and are becoming more widespread every day. 

As with any illness, a child will need the full support of their parents during an eating disorder period. However, it’s difficult to cope with, and most families struggle, leading to a high percentage of patients hospitalised because very specific care must be given to help their recovery. 

If proper treatment isn’t given, a sufferer may spend years going through recovery and relapse cycles and never quite get out of the pattern of an eating disorder. 

Treatment can include Anti-psychotic Medications, which reduce psychotic symptoms. They can be taken orally, daily or in some instances can be given by a long-lasting injection. Medication works alongside intensive psychotherapy, psycho-education and activities which promote group and shared experiences. Psychosis can be a lonely space to be and at The Wave we encourage connection with both the treatment team and peers to promote wellness. 

What is an eating disorder?

An Eating Disorder causes a person to interact with food in an unhealthy way: limiting food intake or eating excessive quantities in an uncontrolled manner, and getting rid of food through purging, fasting, laxative intake or over-exercising. Sometimes a combination of these behaviours can occur.

It's important to mention that a person who has an eating disorder does not have a direct problem with food but in feelings that are provoked when eating. A sufferer may become fixated with their weight or body image, and use the intake of food to cope with their insecurity.

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa is a very serious illness which can lead to the starvation of our body and severe physical conditions. It’s diagnosed when a person's weight is extremely low due to their limited intake of food. The illness is often linked to depression, low self-esteem, self-harm and drug or alcohol abuse, and can place a huge strain on personal relationships.


A sufferer of Anorexia Nervosa has a distorted view of their body image. They see themselves as larger than they really are and fear to gain weight. They will often refuse to eat which makes the weight restoration phase of their recovery the most complicated. Professional treatment is highly recommended.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia Nervosa is a very serious illness which is characterised by eating large amounts of food (bingeing) and then offset this intake by vomiting, taking laxatives or fasting or exercise.


This severe eating habit causes huge amounts of stress on the body and can result in severe physical consequences, such as dehydration, gastrointestinal problems, heart difficulties and electrolyte imbalances. It can also lead to feelings of shame, guilt and low self-esteem. Many who suffer from bulimia fear weight gain and have a negative body image.

Avoidant / Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)

An avoidant or restrictive food intake disorder is when a person’s eating issue involves avoidance of food or certain types of food or the general restriction of food intake.

ARFID can occur when a person has a specific fear of the consequences of ingesting a certain type of food, as they may be particularly susceptible to its smell, taste, or texture. Or may only be able to ingest foods served at a specific temperature.

This can occur after a bad experience, such as acute food poisoning or choking and can lead to fear or anxiety around a specific food type or eating in general.

Binge Eating Disorder (BED)

Often we use the term ‘binge eating’ lightly when we have eaten more than we should. However, the reality for those suffering from Binge Eating Disorder can be very distressing.

Binge Eating Disorder sufferers eat large amounts of food in a short period of time and often can’t remember doing so after the event. Often they are unable to stop themselves from binging, and it becomes almost like a ritual. Some BED sufferers will eat anything they can find, even resorting to stealing food or eating food that has been thrown away.

Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED)

Unlike Anorexia, Bulimia and Binge Eating Disorder, which are diagnosed based on a set of psychological, behavioural and physical symptoms, Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder is diagnosed when the pattern of eating doesn’t fit but is nonetheless concerning to a person’s health.

Types of OSFED include Atypical Anorexia (weight stays within normal range), and Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder (both with lower intensity or duration).

Eating disorders The Wave Clinic

Co-occurring conditions

As with many of the addictive and destructive behaviours we see in young people, it’s common to see co-occurring conditions of food/body issues and another addiction. We frequently see eating disorders come to the surface when other addictions are removed - alcohol is removed from the equation, and an eating disorder comes to the surface. In such a case, the two issues can enable each other, which is confusing for both the sufferer and their loved ones.



Eating disorders don’t always coexist with faulty thinking around body image but can. In some cases, we can see something called body dysmorphic disorder, which is where the individual has unrealistic views of their self-image and their body. It can also co-occur alongside other conditions, such as addiction or mental health concerns. We often see it co-occur alongside a tendency to over-exercise, which might only become apparent only once we’ve started working through the eating disorder.



The Wave is committed to delivery Psychosis treatment through active early interventions. We have the ability to facilitate emergency admissions to commence treatment at the earliest opportunity. Our partner facility is equipped to provide care for the most complex situations, with a secure and medium secure space for enhanced care. Our Team of Psychiatrists with a special interest in Psychosis and Serious Mental Illness will be on hand to facilitate care and transfer if necessary. Our families often describe feeling supported in knowing that a higher level of care is available for those experiencing psychotic episodes. We facilitate a transfer and step-down care to The Wave main houses as soon as it is medically and clinically appropriate. Our Psychiatrists are on hand to assist in the transfer from overseas and consult with existing professionals. We are able to arrange global transfer and accompanied admissions for families in crisis.

The Wave supports you


An episode of psychosis may last for several weeks or in some cases several months. It is possible to have more than one episode of psychosis. 

Psychosis can be related to Cannabis use. Whilst cannabis is not the only drug that can induce the symptoms of psychosis; it is the most common substance seen in first episodes of psychosis.

Psychosis can be treated through a combination of medication, including Antipsychotic medications and psychotherapy; combined with psycho-education and coping skills.

It is essential to take medication for psychosis as prescribed. Medication management can be a challenge for young people with serious mental health illness and they may need encouragement and support with medication management. Inpatient or residential treatment is often recommended for young people who have difficulty managing medications or who combine medication with recreational or street drugs. 

For more FAQs, please refer to our FAQs page.

There's Always Hope

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